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    Inspire

    A Blog about Blogging

    Remaining Authentic to My Vision

    I’ve had this topic on my mind for a while – but my thoughts are seriously all over the map and I haven’t really been able to cull them into something presentable for you my readers.  But here I am finally trying to express it.  I might fail but let’s give it a try.  It’s time to Blog about Blogging.

    History

    I had no preconceived notions when I started this blog almost SEVEN YEARS AGO.  What?  Where has the time gone?  I knew absolutely nothing about blogging.  And for many years I didn’t even try to learn.  I just wrote what I wanted when I wanted to with absolutely no expectations.  It was in the beginning, and still is, a journal of sorts. My Fab Fifties Life.  Pretty much says it all.

    Then Travel Happened

    But then of course we set out on the Grand Adventure and I suddenly became a ‘Travel Blogger’ without really intending to.  And then people started to notice.  Who are all these strangers who are reading and commenting on my blog? And then I suddenly felt compelled to succeed at what I was doing, and I began to take it more seriously and learn and study and work hard to learn a little about things like search engine optimization, algorithms, domain authority.  Then I met other bloggers and blogging communities and I learned more from all of them.  My eyes were opened.

    Everyone Thinks They Can Write

    And though I have met so many amazingly talented bloggers, my eyes have also been opened to something else.   There are many bloggers out there who have no writing experience or background.  It’s kinda weird to me.  Sometimes I run across a blog and I’m astonished at how poorly written it is.  For hobby blogging that is just fine.  But if they are trying to make a living, they need to become better writers. They may be really good at traveling, but have zero experience at writing.

    I myself am never going to win the Pulitzer Prize for my writing but I am a trained journalist and I’ve spent a career writing in many different formats.  I can write.  And when I started blogging it was because I was looking for the creative outlet of writing I so enjoy. It became about travel much later. It’s not a career for me, but I want my blog interesting and well presented.  I use my years of experience in the writing fields to make that happen.

    Because here is the most important thing about blogging.  Content.  Good well written content will make you succeed – first and foremost.

    Influencers – Not a fan of this title

    The term influencers is a title many bloggers and instagramers self-proclaim for generating income by writing and photographing destinations around the world and creating a buzz about those places.  And in return either getting paid or receive free travel.

    I have an internal struggle with my blogging because, as the blog has grown I find myself often hesitant to talk about wonderful places we find, or unique destinations or restaurants we stumble upon.  Because, will these places be so wonderful if everyone finds out about them?  I don’t want to be an influencer that sends thousands of people to that cute little villa or that secluded little beach.  I have no desire to influence anyone and make a unknown place the next “thing”.  I struggle with the question if my niche is too wide, and should I pare my work down to focus solely on traveling with low impact and expectations?  It’s a tough question. I haven’t yet figured out the answer.

    The Most Instagrammable Spots

    I  will never write a blog with this title nor will I ever read a blog with this title.  It just makes me so damn mad.  As I have mentioned in previous blogs I believe the advent of the selfie and Instagram has ruined a number of locations (ie Santorini) and as we know it has also caused some untimely deaths of people trying to get the best selfie (most recently in Yosemite).

    I will say this again – Yes, I take selfies.  Yes, I love to put my photography on Instagram, but I will NEVER, trespass, put myself in danger or cause other’s to feel uncomfortable JUST TO GET THAT MONEY SHOT.  I think I’ll puke the next pretty girl in long flowing gown I see posing for a shot and trying to make it look spontaneous.  It’s a big loss to authentic travel and an unfortunate side effect of our social media crazed world (and amazing photo editing tools at our fingertips).

    Money

    I earn a small amount of money for the stories I publish six times a year in a magazine back home.  It does not pay for our travels. That thought is laughable.  It does almost cover the costs I incur having my blog professionally hosted.  But as for the hours of work I put into my blog – I make no money.  Nada.

    I tried for a while to sell books on my book reviews through Amazon’s affiliate program.  But I didn’t make the cut for minimal sales and Amazon dropped me.  I have not attempted, so far, to get involved in any other affiliate programs to monetize my blog. But honestly I don’t need to make money.  I am not doing it for the money.  I’m doing it because I like to write, I love photography and I enjoy sharing these two passions.  I’m not looking for payment in return for talking about a specific destination or experience I have had.

    I lived that life in my career and I don’t want that in My Fab Fifties Life. I want to remain authentic to my original vision for this blog; write about happy things that inspire women in mid-life to seek adventure, be authentic, brave and fearless, while sharing my story of my own personal Fab Fifties journey.

    That is all

    That is all I want for the blog.  If you are inspired to find your own grand adventure, or inspired to read a book, or inspired to let your hair go grey, or inspired to try a new cuisine, or inspired to walk 100 miles, or inspired to purge and minimize, or inspired to get on an airplane to somewhere you always dreamed of – then this blog has served its purpose.

    And it has done it authentically.

    Fabulous.

     

     

    Everything Else Fabulous

    The Night Before Christmas

    I Still Believe

    Location: The Night Before Christmas

    Note this is a refresh of an old blog that I love with some new photos – including the title photo which is me (left) with my sister and brother in 1964.

    I was only five years old when I learned there was no Santa.  I remember it clearly.  I actually wasn’t even five yet…just a few weeks shy.  It was Christmas morning 1964.   The little neighbor girl who was friends with my seven year-old sister came over to see our gifts.  My sister was showing her this cool play kitchen Santa had brought when Jodi said to my sister “you know Santa is really just your Mom and Dad.”  Those were her exact words.  I remember it 54 years later like it was yesterday.

    Well Jodi was the youngest child of a large family, where apparently, her older brothers and sisters had not managed to keep the big secret from her.

    I’m not sure either my sister or Jodi even realized I was standing right there.

    I remember my sister’s reaction – she cried and was very upset.  And I remember my reaction.  I thought to myself “Well, that makes perfect sense.”  And I never doubted it or worried about it from there on, although I didn’t let my parents or siblings know I possessed this knowledge.

    The Night Before Christmas

    Hawaiian version

    That same Christmas was the year I received my first book.  We had lots of books in the house, but I had never been given a book that was all mine.  Just for me.  That book was a beautiful copy of “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clark Moore.  It’s ironic that I received this book the same morning that I learned there was no Santa Claus.

    I adored that book.  I cherished it.  It had a rich, beautiful red cover and beautiful illustrations that I looked at for hours and hours and in later years read cover to cover.  I didn’t let my siblings touch it and it luckily got packed away and preserved in the decades that followed.

    When I was a young Mom I once again fell in love with the book as I read it each year to first my first-born son, and later both my boys.  I easily could recite the poem without the book and often did.  One Christmas my two children and I put on a play of the poem for the family, complete with costumes and scenery.

    The Night Before Christmas

    Some of the older copies in my collection

    It was in these years when my children were very tiny that I picked up an interesting book at the library (yes this was way before Google) all about the history of our Christmas traditions.  I learned so many fascinating things from that book, including the amazing history of the poem “The Night Before Christmas”.  It wasn’t until then, that I understood that many of the holiday traditions I took for granted, including Santa Claus himself, were fairly new developments in recent generations and the poem “The Night Before Christmas” was largely responsible for the image of St. Nicholas we know today.

    The Night Before Christmas

    The flocked version

    Until Moore wrote the poem in 1823 as a gift for his children, St. Nicholas had a Christmas Day arrival not Christmas Eve.  Moore’s image of the “jolly elf” arriving under darkness on Christmas Eve is one we still accept today, elaborated and secured for all time by the Coca-Cola image of Santa in the early 20th Century.

    Moore’s poem also brought into cultural acceptance the idea of Santa’s reindeer as he named them individually for the first time.  And of course the popularity of the later poem “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer” added additional holiday fun to that aspect of our Christmas cultural icon.

    Once I began to learn and understand the history of Santa Claus in the United States and around the world I became infatuated with the story and the history.  I started purchasing new and antique copies of “The Night Before Christmas” each year and through out the year.  As my love for the story grew as an adult, I also began to receive antique copies of the book from friends and family.

    I currently own more than 30 copies of the book.  My oldest of the collection is a 1905 edition.  I have some fun versions including two Hawaiian versions, a Mickey Mouse version, Holly Hobby and two illustrated by Grandma Moses.

    I have flocked version, a pop-up book version, and one of the most fun versions is a revolving picture book.

    But my favorite will always be the original one I received that Christmas in 1964, published in

    The Night Before Christmas

    My favorite – The book I received for Christmas 1964

    1960.

    The same day I received this amazing storybook of Santa Claus was the same day I learned there is no Santa Claus.  And perhaps my love and adoration for this poem all these years was my way of accepting that truth, while still believing in the Christmas spirit.

    So let’s believe together;

     

    A Visit from St. Nicholas

    AKA The Night Before Christmas

    By Clement Clark Moore

     

    “Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house

    Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

    The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

    In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

     

    The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

    While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads,

    And Mama in her kerchief, and I in my cap,

    Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap-

     

    When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

    I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

    Away to the window I flew like a flash,

    Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.

     

    The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,

    Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below;

    When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

    But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

     

    With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

    I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

    More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

    And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:

     

    “Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer and Vixen,

    “On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Donder and Blitzen;

    “To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!

    “Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!

     

    As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

    When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

    So up to the housetop the coursers they flew,

    With the sleigh full of toys – and St. Nicholas too:

     

    And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

    The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

    As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

    Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound:

     

    He was dress’d all in fur, from his head to his foot,

    And his clothes were all tarnish’d with ashes and soot;

    A bundle of toys was flung on his back,

    And he look’d like a peddler just opening his pack:

     

    His eyes – how they twinkled! His dimples: how merry,

    His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;

    His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

    And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

     

    The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

    And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

    He had a broad face, and a little round belly

    That shook when he laugh’d, like a bowl full of jelly:

     

    He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

    And I laugh’d when I saw him in spite of myself;

    A wink of his eye and a twist of his head

    Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

     

    He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

    And fill’d all the stockings; then turn’d with a jerk,

    And laying his finger aside of his nose

    And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

     

    He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle

    And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:

    But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight –

    Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

    I go back and forth with Barbara Kingsolver.  One of my all time favorite books is her Poisonwood Bible.  And yet some of her other books have left me flat.

    Unsheltered falls squarely in the middle.  I enjoyed it, but it won’t make my top of all time list.  But it is definitely worth a read. It is a bit unfortunate when you fall hard for a particular book (like Poisonwood Bible) – and then expect the author to produce that feeling again and again.  Kingsolver is a talented writer, and Unsheltered definitely shows her breadth.

    The story follows two family – one hundred years apart – living in the same house. Both families are dealing with considerable economic and family issues.  How these families address these issues however, is different in their respective centuries.

    And yet much is the same.  Both storylines deal with aging parents and raising and educating children. Both storylines have an underlying theme of media, economics, racism and nature.  Both storylines have an antagonist in power or coming to power, and how the different generations look at the current political climate.

    The parallel stories converge through historical notes, letters and research as the modern family desperately seeks answers to solve their financial woes.  What they discover however is that none of us, in generations past or present, are fully ever prepared for crumbling foundations both physically and metaphorically when our lives go hurling in directions we never thought possible, in a changing world we never saw coming.

    I particularly liked Kingsolver’s clever way of tying together each chapter as it went from past to present day.  I think you’ll like it too.

    Four stars for Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

    Read last week’s review of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

     

     

    North America Travel

    Miami Nice – Four Miami Neighborhoods to Visit

    Location: Miami Florida USA

    Miami is much bigger than I expected.  A shiny port city with lots of shiny expensive cars and beautiful people.

    I was pleasantly surprised – arriving without really any expectations.  It’s beautiful, but

    Four Miami Neighborhoods to visit

    Ceviche at Jaguar

    also expensive.  There is a lot of traffic too, but we enjoyed our six days and explored as much as we could.

    I’m pretty sure I couldn’t afford to live here – but apparently a lot of people can.  The city is growing, with construction of both sky scrapers and roads all around.

    Four Miami neighborhoods to visit

    Cigar rolling Little Havana

    We stayed in a cute little cottage Airbnb in Coconut Grove – one of my favorite neighborhoods we discovered during our visit.  Here’s our list;

    Coconut Grove

    The Grove has a nice neighborhood feel, although mega mansions are hidden behind high walls and in immaculately landscaped gated communities.  But still it felt like a

    Four Miami Neighborhoods to visit

    Cuban Sandwich Little Havana

    family place, although we never saw a public school – we did count six fancy private schools within the neighborhood we were staying.  Coconut Grove reminded me of Pasadena, with similar street shopping and restaurants and sidewalk cafe’s.  But it also has a beautiful harbor with hundreds of sailboats and yachts moored.   Coconut Grove also has a “low rent” district, but as a visitor you are likely to spend your time in the historic old town.                                                                             Favorite Spot – Jaguar Restaurant for delicious Peruvian ceviche and other specialities.

    Little Havana

    Historic and quit small Little Havana is easy to explore – pretty much all on one street,

    Four Miami Neighborhoods to visit

    Art Deco south Beach

    Calle Ocho (8th Street).  Here you must try the amazing Cuban Coffee (similar to Turkish Coffee – sweet and strong) as well as delicious Cuban Food.  We ate lunch at Old’s Havana Cuban Bar and Cocina where we had a giant Cuban Sandwich and a delicious mango mojito.  There are some small shops and some kitschy Cuban souvenirs.  Stop to watch the old men playing Dominoes at Dominoes Park.                                                                                                                                                       Favorite Spot – Cuba Tobacco Cigar Company, family owned and operated by the Bellos Family for 100 years.  Here you can watch the art of hand rolling cigars.  Of course you can also buy cigars (many kinds and prices) if you are in to that.

    South Beach

    South Beach is every thing you imagined.

    Four Miami Neighborhoods to visit

    South Beach

    White sand, blue water, tropical pink lifeguard station and lots of sunbathers glistening in oil.  We spent several hours enjoying the sun and the warm waters of the Atlantic.  Quit the contrast to the Atlantic we watched a few weeks ago in Spain.  South Beach is home to a lot of celebrities, as well as high-end shopping, hotels, bars and restaurants.  Choose a street cafe and sip on one of the fishbowl sized tropical drinks and watch the people go by.                                                                                                                                 Favorite spot – South Beach’s famous Art Deco Architecture is worth a visit.  You can take a guided tour ($25) or just walk around on your own to see the wonderful collection, most very well-preserved, from the 1920’s era of glitz and glam.

    Wynwood Art District

    This reincarnated neighborhood is really cool.  You don’t need a lot of time here, or you can

    Four Miami Neighborhoods to bisit

    Wynwood Walls

    make it a full day because there are lots of restaurants, shops, art galleries and a couple of breweries.  This old industrial neighborhood used to be no mans land.  Until a few artists started opening up art space. It grew.  Someone painted a mural.  Then another.  Today nearly every paintable space in the small neighborhood is covered with art – more than 70 murals as well as sidewalk art and more.  It’s definitely unique, fun and colorful!                                                                                                   Favorite spot – the Wynwood Walls, an enclosed area of spectacular murals you can view for free.

     

    There is certainly more to Miami than these four neighborhoods – in fact a lot more.  We will need to visit again, to enjoy the beautiful weather, history, water and restaurant scene.  Miami nice.  Yes it is. Fabulous!

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil de Grasse Tyson

    Okay this guy is a total bad-ass.  And this book should be called Astrophysics for All You Stupid People.  Of which I am one.

    But de Grasse Tyson is way too nice (or maybe his editors are way to focused on selling books), but either way the premise behind this book is – bring simplified astrophysics to the masses.

    Author de Grasse Tyson is one of America’s most brilliant astrophysicists, while also being a talented writer, orator and teacher.  His efforts to help the average person understand and consider our universe and everything around us is noble.  He makes it fun, interesting and educational.

    That said there was SO MUCH of this book I still floundered through.  While other passages and chapters had me riveted and saying over and over “wow I never knew that.”  You can teach an old dog new tricks by the way.  And you don’t need to come away from this book understanding everything you have read.  No one is going to expect you to win a Nobel Prize or change your life or career.  But the one thing you can expect is to wonder.  Wonder and acknowledge how much we still don’t know, and how exciting that is.  Not just for us, but our progeny and generations to come.

    Even if it’s hard – you still should read it.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Five stars for Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.

    Read last week’s review of Killers of the Flower Moon

    North America Travel

    My Favorite Things in Key West and Everglades Florida

    Worth a Visit

    Location: Key West & Everglades Florida

    We had eight days to enjoy Key West and the Everglades.  We didn’t see everything, but we did enjoy many things in both locations.  I’ve been intrigued by this area since I was a kid – but had only ever visited Florida’s northern gems – Pensacola, Orlando, Saint Augustine, Cape Canaveral.  Our time in the most southern part of this fascinating state was well spent.  Here are my favorites and recommendations for a visit to Key West and Everglades Florida.

    My Favorite Things in Key West and Everglades Florida

    You can easily do these two locations with a week’s vacation, although 8-10 days would be better.  If you want to add Miami (which we are doing next), you will need a few more days.  It’s very easy to drive from Miami to both Everglades and Key West, but it will take some time.  The roads are good but often two lane roads with maximum speed limits of 60 miles per hour. You will definitely need a car to get around both regions.  We started with a three-hour drive from Miami to Key West.

    Favorite Things Key West & Everglades

    What the Fish

    Key West

    On our drive from Miami we stopped for lunch in Key Largo at the famous “What the Fish” fish shack I had read about on Trip Advisor.  I’m so glad we did.  It ended up being one of the best meals we had in Florida.  We both had yellow tail fish tacos and beer, sitting in the glorious Florida sunshine enjoying the view of the yachts in the channel (known as waterways).  The service was incredible too.  Such a great way to start our visit.

    On arrival in Key West at Stock Island Marina, about ten minutes from historic downtown Key West, we found our little sailboat Airbnb.  Super cute, but super small.  It worked out fine, but I sure wouldn’t consider an extended stay in a tiny space like this again.  The best part was enjoying the marina’s pool, laundry and bar with live music.  I enjoyed drinking my coffee and watching the sunrise from the deck of the boat

    Favorite Things Key West & Everglades

    The Little White House

    each morning.

    My Fav Six Things to Do in Key West

    1. The Truman Little White House This historic home is part of a military installation that became a favorite destination for Harry S. Truman both during and after his presidency.  It’s a fabulous neighborhood (be sure to walk around and see more than just the house) and on the tour I learned so much about President Truman I did not know.  Fantastic tour.
    2. Hemingway House – Having only recently grown to admire Ernest Hemingway, I was very interested in learning more about his life.  This gorgeous home and tour is a fascinating look into the life of this incredible man – and the architectural masterpiece and gardens alone are worth the price of admission.  The tour was a little too big for my tastes, and a bit rushed.  But I still highly
      Favorite Things Key West & Everglades

      Hemingway House

      recommend it.

    3. Get Out on the Water – there are literally hundreds of ways to get out on the water in Key West.  Sport fishing is a huge draw to this area and dozens of operators offer fishing daily. Additionally there are kayak, canoe and standup paddleboard tours and rentals.  There are jet ski tours and rentals.  Sailing is popular and there are sunset sails with music and drinks. There are diving and snorkel tours by the hundreds.  We did a three-hour snorkel cruise (one hour each way and one hour in the water) to the Barrier Reef with Fury.  It was simple and all we needed and not at all expensive.  We’ve snorkeled all over the world, so it’s hard to compare, but we did enjoy the warm water, the beautiful purple fan coral, and some amazing encounters with beautiful fish.
    4. Duvall Street and Mallory Square – this is where you go to people watch, shop, drink and eat at all hours of the day and night in Key West.  It reminded me a bit of Nashville, with live music all day long.  We enjoyed a couple of meals and
      Favorite Things Key West & Everglades

      Snorkle fun

      drinks, and we watched the Apple Cup football game from a bar here.  It’s got a nice old funky vibe and is a Key West must.

    5. Eat at Blue Heaven – we read that Blue Heaven is one of Key West’s best and most popular eateries so we headed there for lunch.  The Thanksgiving holiday crowd was out in full force, so rather than waiting forty minutes for an outdoor table we enjoyed a delicious (but not cheap) lunch in their indoor dining room.  There special was a lobster grilled cheese sandwich, that sounded delicious, but at $23 I declined.  Instead I enjoyed a really delicious yellow fin tuna sandwich.  And we had to try their famous Key
      Favorite Things Key West & Everglades

      Dining at Latitudes Sunset Key

      Lime Pie.

    6. Eat at Latitudes on Sunset Key – we splurged on our last night in Key West to celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary with a dinner at Latitudes.  Reservations are a must at this beautiful restaurant located a ten minute boat ride away, on Sunset Key.  The boat ride is included in your meal.  The setting was spectacular as was the service.  A wonderful romantic evening and a lovely farewell to Key West.

    Did you know?

    Favorite Things Key West & Everglades

    Key West Rooster

    Cock fighting was outlawed in Key West in the mid 1970’s.  Ever since, the descendants of these chickens roam freely throughout Key West.  Currently they are well fed and living happily ever after.

     

    My Fav Six Things to do in Everglades

    1. Shark Valley Tram Trail – this is the closest I ever want to be to an alligator. Holy Cow, we saw hundreds of alligators laying all around the trail just a few feet from us.  Seemed kinda crazy to me how close we were.  I guess they must not be too dangerous, but still…You can take a tram with a guide on this trail, walk it or ride bikes.  It’s a 15 mile round
      Favorite Things Key West & Everglades

      Mama alligator and three babies

      trip.  We rented bikes, although the quality of the bikes was disappointing for the price, but still enjoyed the experience.  Not only did we see hundreds of alligators up close and personal, we saw turtles and an incredible collection of bird life.  An amazing experience.

    2. Airboat Tour – you can’t visit the Everglades without taking an air boat tour.  These boats are uniquely designed for the terrain and waterways and it was a fascinating way to see the mangrove forests.  A bucket list adventure for me.
    3. Visit tiny historic Everglades City– we stayed in a darling Airbnb in Everglades City, a tiny town of only 500 residents.  Built in the 1800’s as a company town by Barron Collier (whose name is still everywhere including in Collier County), Everglades
      Favorite Things Key West & Everglades

      Airboat Tour

      (renamed Everglades City in 1953) has struggled through the depression, WWII and numerous hurricanes that have nearly wiped it out.  And yet this sweet little place embraces its heritage with some well-marked interpretive historic markers, a handful of restaurants and a thriving air boat port.

    4. Big Cypress Preserve is not actually part of the National Park. It’s right near Everglades City and the preserve is worth a visit. Two waysides provide amazing alligator viewing as well as interesting birds, trees and marsh.
    5. Eat Alligator – with so many alligators in Florida it’s no surprise you find it on the menu – although mostly for tourists who want to say they ate some.  As I did. Served to me like chicken nuggets and tasted very much the same as well.
    6. Visit Naples – we took the drive north to Naples, less than an hour from where we were staying in Everglades City, to visit some old friends who were on vacation in Naples.  I’m really glad we did.  Naples is a beautiful city chock full of mansions and yachts and high-end shops – a complete contrast to little old Everglades City.

    Did you know?

    The Everglades, called the River of Grass because the area is technically a river sometimes 60 miles wide, is not a marsh or swamp. Native Americans called it pahayokee, or

    Favorite Things Key West & Everglades

    Everglades

    the grassy waters. The ecosystem protects 14 endangered and nine threatened species, including the Florida panther, the Atlantic Ridley turtle and the American crocodile. (Credit USA Today Travel Tips)

    Next Time

    Next time we visit I would like to go to the Southern section of the Everglades where the Flamingo Visitor entrance is.  The geology of all of Florida is fascinating.  It is also changing, both geologically and weather wise, prone of course to devastating hurricanes.  We throughly enjoyed our visit, and I’d love to come again, before climate change causes too much more damage.

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    Inspire

    The Suitcase Nomad Life

    Two Plus Years and Counting

    Location: Everglades Florida

    It’s been two years today since we took our shiny new REI bags and got on a plane to Thailand.  Although it’s actually been more than two years since we became suitcase nomads when we left our little condo rental and headed to Hawaii on June 12, 2016 (exactly two years, five months, 17 days, 12 hours, 45 minutes and 49 seconds ago).

    We have been living out of those (no longer shiny) REI bags now for 900 days.  In the beginning Arne said we would know after six months whether or not we could live this lifestyle.

    Suitcase nomad

    Our bags the day we left November 2016

    Apparently we can.

    65 Flights and 48 countries later here we are in Florida.  Florida?  How did we get here?

    We are on our way from Florida next week to five more months in South and Central America, seeing many countries we have wanted to visit for a very long time.  Expecting the suitcase nomad life to continue – full of adventure and fun.

    This week marked two years since we headed to Thailand as well as 36 years since we got married.  Our anniversary also

    Packing (again) after three weeks in Greece

    marked the closing day for the condo we have purchased (sight unseen) back in our home state of Washington.

    We plan to continue the suitcase nomad life, but we also look forward to having a “home” once again…a place we can unpack and kick back and call our own when we are in the USA.

    Suitcase nomad

    Leaving again August 2018

    But, that won’t happen until May.  Meanwhile my niece and her family will housesit in our new condo – while we continue gallivanting around…suitcase nomad life on a roll.

    It’s fun.  It’s exhausting.  It’s exciting. It’s hard.  It’s exhilarating. It’s monotonous. It’s not for everyone.  It’s our life.  This is our suitcase nomad life.

    I wouldn’t change it.  What we have seen.  What we have learned.  How we have grown.  What more could anyone ask for? My Fab Fifties Life.

     

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